Stefano Di Battista’s 3rd recording Round About Roma captures the alluring romanticism of Rome. A talented and expressive saxophonist, Di Battista has a distinctive sound that has captured the listening ears of great jazz performers such as pianist Michel Petrucciani and drummer Elvin Jones on some of their recent recordings. Having received success and popularity in Paris over the past few years, Di Battista dedicates his new recording to his birthplace of Rome.
The key element providing the feel of Round About Roma is the appropriate use of a full-blown orchestra, the Symphonic Orchestra of Radio France. Along with strings arrangements by renowned Vince Mendoza, who has worked with popular musicians from Joni Mitchell to the Yellowjackets, the music has a richness and openness of sound that transcends the standard jazz recording. A prime example is the classic “Romeo and Juliet,” where the instruments accentuate the melody behind Di Battista’s soloing. The music is lush, cinematic, and elegant, without being overly sentimental.
Di Battista’s own quartet of longtime friends is the jazz glue that holds the recording together, as they perform their duties with expert skill. With thoughtful musicianship, solos are tastefully delivered on selections such as “Roma Antica,” which delicately swings with style and grace as the orchestral strings sing genuinely in the background. The recording closes with “The Next Nine Hours,” which showcases dynamic solos by the bass, piano, and drums, as well a profound statement by Di Battista on alto sax. The recording’s theme centers around Di Battista’s personal view of Rome and its history, with each selection featuring a unique perspective of the city’s life. The end result is an exquisite work of music that engages the mind as well as the heart.
Track Listing: 1. Anastasia 2. Amoroso 3. Tartagura 4. Romeo & Juliet
5. The Other Side 6. Arabesque 7. Roma Antica
8. The Next Nine Hours
Personnel: Stefano di Battista- Alto and Soprano Saxophone; Eric Legnini- Piano;
Rosario Bonaccorso- Acoustic Bass; Andre Cecarrelli- Drums
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.